The following post was submitted by Buzz Stillinger and edited for style by Patch.
The Londontowne Symphony Orchestra (LSO), Anne Arundel County's community orchestra, has been invited to play at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater in Washington, DC, 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
This free concert is being sponsored by the Iraqi Cultural Center of Washington, and the LSO is delighted to be selected for this historic cultural exchange entitled A Musical Dialogue Between Two Nations.
Anna Binneweg, the music director/conductor of the LSO, will be sharing the conducting responsibilities with Karim Wasfi, chief principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in Baghdad, who is also an accomplished cellist.
The program will be a mix of American and Iraqi music. The orchestra will be playing Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait" directed by Anna Binneweg and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," conducted by Mr. Wasfi, featuring pianist Llewellyn Werner. Works by Mohammed U. Sidiq will also be included; "Poem for Trumpet and Orchestra," "Iraqi Themes," "Elegy Theme and Variations" and "Dialogue for Flute and Oboe."
Mr. Wasfi was born in Cairo, Egypt to an artistic family. He received MA and performance diplomas in cello performance, electronic music technology and conducting from Indiana University School of Music, degrees in physics and philosophy from Cairo University and studied political science at Boston University.
He has been the assistant principal cellist in the Bangor, Portland, Columbus, and Evansville orchestras, the principal cellist in the Iraqi National Symphony, on the faculty at the Music and Ballet School in Baghdad, and the principal cellist in the Cairo Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Wasfi has been running and directing the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra since 2004 under extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances. He notes that many extreme Islamists disapprove of all music, but for moderate Iraqis, the symphony symbolizes an elevated alternative to barbarism everywhere.
The LSO would like residents of Anne Arundel County to consider joining the orchestra in Washington, DC, on Saturday. It is not as convenient as our area high schools, but patrons will be a part of this historic event and will be supporting our local community orchestra.